Filipinos really have a knack for naming places or islands that are easy to recall like common things like – hats! In Burias Island, Masbate, another set of islands got the moniker of Sombrero Island just because the island looks like the top of a cowboy hat. It’s funny though that the Sombrero Island Masbate in San Pascual is a set of two islands close together, fraternal twins I may say. The other island near the hat-like island has a gorgeous-looking stretch of beach and sand bar. Sombrero Island Masbate is our second island destination in San Pascual, quaint and laid back.
Quaint Island Life
There were already a group of kids playing by the beach and a lone woman whose introspection by the edge of the long sandbar got interrupted by our arrival. Colored flags flapping along the stretch of the beach were signs that there is little development in the area. A small resort with native cottages where guest can stay a day or overnight were already in place. The beach, attractive from afar is really more of crushed corals and sand. Dong, the island caretaker was quick to say the sand quality changes in season. Sometimes the white powdery sand would be there but this time, the coral fragments carpeted the beach. It doesn’t matter though as the emerald waters in all their clarity are irresistible.
The hat-like island loomed nearby offering a stunning backdrop to this secluded beach. There were only a few tourists in sight. A walk on the beach offers a view of the nearby island and mainland of Bicol. The island inhabitants are also fishers and the sight of dilis being dried under the sun is common. It’s a lovely place to stay and relax for a few days. Now it is much easier with basic cottages available for stay. An overnight cottage with a private bathroom good for 10 pax is available. Dong also informed us beforehand that water is scarce on the island since they have to source it from the mainland. He advises guests to conserve water as much as possible.
Sombrero Island Masbate is part of Island Hopping Tour from San Pascual, Burias Island along with Animasola Island and Tinalisayan Island. The Sombrero Island is located 4.5 nautical miles from San Pascual town proper and can be reached by motorboat in an estimated time of 55 minutes to an hour. A 1-day/2-night package of P1,800 per person or a 3-day/2-night package of P2,800 per person is available which includes:
- Meals (lunch and dinner)
- Aircon Room accommodations
- Transport service for Island Hopping
- Entrance Fees
- Tour Guide Services
For booking and details do contact Cecile of San Pascual Tourism Office at 09199112270
Alternatively, boats can be hired per day basis from the port for Php 1,500.
Sombrero Island Masbate has facilities for a night’s stay. An open cottage with the use of a common restroom is P700/night. For the Cottage with a private bathroom good for 10 pax is P3000/night. For reservation contact Dong at 09293595290
How to go to San Pascual, Burias Island, Masbate
The advantage of San Pascual, Burias Island from the rest of Masbate is its easy accessibility to Naga City, Camarines Sur.
- Manila to Naga City by Bus: Ride any Naga City bound bus in Cubao Terminal. Plenty of choices from Philtranco, DLTB, Isarog Lines, etc). In Pasay, there’s Philtranco and DLTB. Travel time is 8–9 hours with fares starting from Php 700 to 1100.
- Manila to Naga City by Plane: There are daily flights to Naga City via Cebu Pacific or Philippine Airlines. Travel time is 45 minutes from Manila. Naga City Airport is near the town of Pili.
- Naga City to Pasacao Port: Make your way to North Bound Terminal and take a jeep or VAN heading to Pasacao. Travel time is 45minutes to an hour. From Pasacao, hire a tryke to take you to the port.
- From Pasacao Port to San Pascual: There are several boats that leave Pasacao Port for San Pascual daily usually from 7:00 am, 10:00 am, and 2:00 pm. Travel time is 2 hours and a fare of Php 150. From San Pascual to Pasacao Port, there are boats that leave at 5:30 am, 8:00 am, and 9:20 am.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.